|Do you Paint or Powder
I have been asked on several occasions which is the best or what should
one use. It is a matter of choice and also depends whether you want to do
all the work or whether you want to send off some bits and carry on with
the restoration while they are away. Do you want the original frame finish
or not for originality? The cost is about the same, although some powder
coaters charge by the items and not the whole frame.
What is Powder Coating?
Powder is paint applied by a different method. Powder coating was
introduced to the United States in the late 60ís. It started to really
take off in the mid 70ís and has steadily gained in popularity for a
number of reasons. Powder coating is comparatively environmentally
friendly as it contain no solvents and thus has very low air emissions
when curing. There is also very little waste with powder, unlike paint
which suffers from over-spray, and the surplus can be collected and
reused. Powder is sprayed (in some cases dipped) on to parts which are
electro-statically charged. It is then baked in an oven, where it melts,
flows and cures. This is a specialist job. Powder coating is chip
resistant, but is hard to repair if it does get damaged.
I prefer painting as it leaves the parts in my possession and I enjoy
the finished result with satisfaction. I usually spray paint my bits with
Gloss Enamel paint from Halfords. First clean the parts to bear metal and
then spray with a base coat. Now apply two topcoats of paint and finish
the job off with a coat of clear lacquer. (For the frame parts you do not
need the lacquer coat) You will often feel disappointed at this point as
the lacquer has a matt finish, but give it a few days to harden and then
T-Cut to a smooth polished surface, and you will be pleased with the
result. Make sure you buy all the items together as different types of
paint and lacquer can react with each other resulting in an orange peel
effect. Application of transfers can be done after this and you can apply
a lacquer over them to protect them from scratching, but again, give the
transfers a few days before applying the coat of lacquer. Scratches can be
touched up at a later date making the on going maintenance easier than
with powder coating. Brush painting is another option, which can result in
a good finish, but you need to buy good brushes. This has the advantage of
putting the paint where you want it (no over-spray) but be careful to
Label and photograph all the parts you require doing and make a list,
as sometimes parts can go missing. They will sand blast the parts down to
bear metal and then electrically charge the items and spray with a powder.
This then is put in an oven and baked into a smooth hard finish. You need
to make sure that if you are doing the frame, the serial number must
remain legible, a friends bike failed it's MOT because the tester could
not read the serial number and he had to file off the powder coat. There
is no point in stripping the paint prior to taking the parts for powder
coating as they will insist on cleaning them down, so you will not save
any money. Make sure that any parts that do not need painting are masked,
the paint will set in screw threads, with a risk of chipping when you try
to fit your parts.
Professional Tips on Painting
I just thought you might find these couple of tips handy. I am a ex
Rolls Royce body and paint worker of over 15 years.
1) Orange peel effect is generally caused by spraying too close to the
job. You should allow 3 to 4 inches clearance to avoid orange peel.
Normally spray paints from cans are much thinner than from a professional
unit (compressor driven paint gun) so you do get orange peel (especially
from lacquer). Just put on heaps of layers and between every coat give it
a little rub down with 1200+ wet n dry paper. Put a bit of washing up
liquid in the water before you use it to stop the sand paper clogging,
then pulling your fresh paint off and on large surfaces use a block of
some description, rubber are probably best.
2) If I am doing a small repair or bike parts and using cans I'd highly
recommend chatting to your local paint supplier (motor industry) such as
the company I use in New Malden, Surrey called L.E Wents Ltd. They can
supply you with a spray can mixed to your request. They provide a much
thicker cover than Halfords type sprays (nearly the same as gravity fed
professional gun) , plus you get a lot more paint for your money, they
cost approx £12 GBP each but go a real long way.
3) Last tip but a goodie is work with warm materials. If you are
spraying a frame/tank/whatever stick a 2 bar electric fire near the work
for about 1/2 hour. Also put some hot water (not boiling, out of a tap is
fine) in to a big pan and put your spray can in, this will do 2 things
that'll make your job easier, it thickens the paint, you'd think it would
thin it but nope, and also you tend to suffer from less runs/orange
peel/reactions. Especially handy if the weather is cold or damp, damp
conditions will give your work a milky effect, which will always need
cutting back to keep a nice shine/colour.
Hope you find this helpful.